“Lots of people come forward with concepts. But the fact is, this proposal put some flesh on the bones.”
— Walter Gancarz, Cheshire town engineer
Town Engineer Walter Gancarz predicts it will save the town $1.3 million in reduced energy costs over the next two decades. And it wouldn’t have happened, he says, if the Yale student team didn’t bring forward what was a well-formed and logical plan.
“Lots of people come forward with concepts,” Gancarz said. “But the fact is, this proposal put some flesh on the bones. It was a pretty easy sell once the economics were laid out, but you need somebody to come up with the plan.”
The plan was initially developed as a group project for the F&ES course, “Electric Utilities: An Industry in Transition,” which is taught by industry veteran and lecturer Lawrence Reilly. The student group included White, Michael Brod ’14 M.E.M., Marley Urdanick ’15 M.E.M., Drew Veysey ’14 M.E.M., and Byron Ruby ’15 M.E.M.
The course, which has been offered for five years, covers issues related to public electricity from the days of Edison to the present. And each year it culminates with group presentations on hypothetical energy projects aimed at a public utility — or, in this case, to a municipal government. (“In his presentation, Tim kept calling me, ‘Mr. Mayor’!’” Reilly remembers.)
“To be successful the groups have to understand the economics of the project from, in this case, the city’s perspective, but also from their own perspective as developers,” said Reilly. “Because they have to be able to make money from the project, too.
“Ultimately we want them to understand the total value created and the ways to split that up between the utility or client and the development team.”